Very seldom do I get to see a cafe evolve through time in a way that makes me feel proud of them. There are currently two in my life: Single Origin Roasters and Exchange Specialty Coffee. The only reason Artificer isn’t here is because it’s too new. Plus being in another state makes it somewhat difficult to assess too.
I started out visiting the place because it began to rank very highly within Sydney’s coffee snob community, so I decided to visit. And I’ve visited, revisited and revisited again ever since. My favourite latte art style is what this place used to portay (the consistency and style is now with Brewtown Newtown), and this place was my cafe-home ever since I was still a flat white drinker.
The early years of 2011 – 2013 were pretty consistent, dishing out these fine rosettas. They also had some interesting specials – complementary mulled wine, events such as “Coffee, Donut, Cigarette”. Their food has always been top notch, though their presentation has changed through the years.
Things like poached egg with veges including kale, with slow cooked beef were served on a thick cut slice of sourdough.
Croque monsieurs received a splash of mustard paint across the plate!
And yes, I used to order ristrettos. They were the thing back in 2011 – it even says so in their glossary in the menu!
Most of their goods are made in-house, such as the salmon and trout.
They also featured tasting plates! In retrospect, I think they used to both roast darker and pull, shorter shots than present with their espressos.
This was their Coffee, Donut, Cigarette event back in 2012. The coffee was a filter coffee and served in gold rimmed ceramic cups rather than their then-standard white coffee cups. What was really cool was that Charles (the manager) also hooked our table up with an iPod to play some fancy jazz!
They received a facelift in 2013, where the whole cafe was renovated, and no longer was there a french face saying “soup!” upon their wall. Instead, you can now find toy soldiers parachuting from the ceiling!
Their cups were now handmade and sleek, dark and handle-less. Through 2014 – 2015 there was a chef change; my favourite moment was when Tommy had his house cured bacon. Nothing beat it when it was combined with a 62 degree egg on toast! That was when the humble bacon and eggs from here was at the peak of its presentation (though I don’t have a picture of it in my archives), and since then it has been redesigned as a bacon and egg roll – far less glamorous in my opinion, and they also had to switch from 62 degree to fried egg to fit into the roll.
Their house creamed corn and bacon both remain on the menu though and are still big winners for me!
Now in 2015, their filters aren’t as zen looking as when Shoji was around, but they definitely received a facelift, and now come with information pamphlets! While the food still tastes amazing, I liked their old presentation styles better. Charles, Tommy and Shoji no longer work here, but good old Sean still does (I love seeing that beard, who doesn’t!). It’s a very different place from when I first visited, but still one of the best food and coffee cafes in the city. They also now have City and Mascot branches – it’s great to see them expand! I am a little wary of places that do expand; I haven’t visited the other sites but would be interested in checking for consistency and quality.